Ma Rainey (called the “Mother of the Blues”) from what I have read was a larger than life performer who was a major recording artist for Paramount Records in the 1920’s. Born Gertrude Pridgett, she married another singer known as Pa Rainey, hence the name Ma. However, she made it no secret she preferred the company of women and referred to this in more than one of her songs. She started in traveling shows as a young teen and worked her way up to head lining her own shows. She was by all accounts a smart business woman and mentor to Bessie Smith (another time I can talk about "the Empress of the Blues"). An inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 she paved the way for both black men and women in the recording of the Blues. When she retired from performing she opened three movie theatres in her hometown of Columbus Georgia and died in 1939.
Fats Domino did it in 1956 and is still the most famous recording of 164 versions, originally done by Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye in 1940. Written by Vincent Rose, the lyrics by Al Lewis and Larry Stock. Here is Fats version.
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